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Old 11th January 2012, 14:48   #1
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Default Common 'Features' in cars that we need to 'live with'

I have noticed some common 'features' in cars that we need to 'live with'. Any reasons for these, and isn't there a way out?

1. Rear Wind Screen: Outer boundary of rear wind-screen is always painted black, so I don't get full visibility through the glass. Maruti 800 and Alto doesn't have this blackened edge, but this 'feature' is common among 'new generation' hatches.

2. Cabin light: Why can't the cabin light be placed (centrally) on the dash board? The current position only serves to point the light on my eyes. Try switching on the cabin light while you drive, if you don't understand what I mean.

3. A/C vents: Why can't the a/c vents be designed like cassette a/c on the center of the roof? It would ensure uniform cooling rather than directing cold air just to the face.

4. Rear Drum Brakes: Why can't we have rear disc brakes rather than drum brakes? Atleast as optional?

5. Inside Rearview mirror: Why can't we have a long convex mirror rather than the plain mirror inside so that I'll get a wider view of the traffic behind?

6. Headlamp leveller: Why can't we have an automatic headlight dimmer (at half the cost) made mandatory, rather than the current mandatory auto leveller function?

7. Antenna: Protruding antenna looks ugly. Why can't some other part serve as antenna? How about the wiper arm?

8. Glove box: Why can't the glove box be placed between the front seats (along with the park brake lever) so that the front passenger can get more knee room?

9. Wheels: Why can't the wheels be designed like bicycle wheels? Perhaps to save weight?

10. Hatch door: Why is a hatch door needed to access the boot, if the rear door is extended to the back corner (Perhaps they can try this in a Tata Nano)?
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Old 11th January 2012, 15:08   #2
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Default re: Common 'Features' in cars that we need to 'live with'

Most of the features you have listed : cabin light, a/c vents, IVRM etc. are all victims of cost cutting. It is something you have to live with to get the vehicle at the price that you do.

It is due to this that after-market fitments are so popular.
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Old 11th January 2012, 16:12   #3
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Default re: Common 'Features' in cars that we need to 'live with'

What you just said may be logical but not applicable
Do you think manufacturers who spend millions in R&D are noobs?
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Old 11th January 2012, 16:43   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jinojohnt View Post
5. Inside Rearview mirror: Why can't we have a long convex mirror rather than the plain mirror inside so that I'll get a wider view of the traffic behind?
Err...if the plain IVRM is replaced by convex mirrors, how can one judge the actual distance between his car and the car behind?

Please note that I don't have any experience driving cars as I'm yet to turn 18! Hence the above query.

Last edited by Klub Class : 11th January 2012 at 16:56.
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Old 11th January 2012, 16:58   #5
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Default re: Common 'Features' in cars that we need to 'live with'

I agree on the disc brake optional part.FM antenna is also a good thought.But Rims i prefer them the way they are- sturdy and built for life.Often the Rims are the last remaining parts seen in cars blown up by mines, engulfed in fire, etc on TV... It shows how dependable they are.
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Old 11th January 2012, 17:00   #6
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Default re: Common 'Features' in cars that we need to 'live with'

Quote:
Originally Posted by jinojohnt View Post
1. Rear Wind Screen: Outer boundary of rear wind-screen is always painted black, so I don't get full visibility through the glass. Maruti 800 and Alto doesn't have this blackened edge, but this 'feature' is common among 'new generation' hatches.
Maybe it's to support the rear defogger?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jinojohnt View Post
2. Cabin light: Why can't the cabin light be placed (centrally) on the dash board? The current position only serves to point the light on my eyes. Try switching on the cabin light while you drive, if you don't understand what I mean.
A roof mounted cabin light will help illuminate more area than a dashboard mounted one. Typically the cabin light is used for searching for small things dropped into the footwell of the front/rear passengers. A dash mounted light is pretty much useless in these cases.

An option I can think of is positioning lights in the footwell or bottom of the doors so they don't create a driving hazard. But considering the cost implications, and the fact that you should not have to use the cabin light for more than a few seconds while driving, it's hard to find a better place for the cabin light.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jinojohnt View Post
3. A/C vents: Why can't the a/c vents be designed like cassette a/c on the center of the roof? It would ensure uniform cooling rather than directing cold air just to the face.
Cost would be a major factor. Routing the air pipes through the roof (via the A or B pillars) would be too costly. They would also be very difficult to fix or clean. Try changing the direction of the vents, or simply switch off the vent on the side and direct the central vents straight back to avoid getting the air in your face.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jinojohnt View Post
4. Rear Drum Brakes: Why can't we have rear disc brakes rather than drum brakes? Atleast as optional?
Disc brakes would add a lot of cost (setting up as well as replacements). Also I doubt if a rear disc brake would be as good as a drum brake in holding a car stationary on a slope with the handbrake.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jinojohnt View Post
5. Inside Rearview mirror: Why can't we have a long convex mirror rather than the plain mirror inside so that I'll get a wider view of the traffic behind?
As someone pointed out earlier, it's important to know the distance between your car and the vehicle following you. A convex mirror would distort it. Plus the internal mirrors are usually quite adequate in covering the rear. For adjoining lanes you could always use the wing/ORV mirrors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jinojohnt View Post
6. Headlamp leveller: Why can't we have an automatic headlight dimmer (at half the cost) made mandatory, rather than the current mandatory auto leveller function?
How would they work? Depending upon its implementation it could either be a great feature or a hazard. If the headlamps dimmed automatically, how does the driver signal the oncoming traffic? What if the driver couldn't see what's ahead because the headlamps dimmed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jinojohnt View Post
7. Antenna: Protruding antenna looks ugly. Why can't some other part serve as antenna? How about the wiper arm?
And when you replace the wiper arm, you shell out a couple of hundred extra bucks because the antenna goes with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jinojohnt View Post
8. Glove box: Why can't the glove box be placed between the front seats (along with the park brake lever) so that the front passenger can get more knee room?
Inadequate space between the seats (specially in the hatches), plus it may interfere with the handbrake operation. I personally believe operating the glove box would also be easier than a centre-mounted box.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jinojohnt View Post
9. Wheels: Why can't the wheels be designed like bicycle wheels? Perhaps to save weight?
Perhaps to ensure they support the vehicle's weight? The rims are expected to last the lifetime of the vehicle. Considering the kind of terrain a vehicle will go over, the rims have be strong enough to carry the vehicle through all the potholes, uneven surfaces and other such. I doubt if a bicycle type design would provide enough strength. If it did you would have seen steel pressed rims looking like the alloys and alloys getting even thinner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jinojohnt View Post
10. Hatch door: Why is a hatch door needed to access the boot, if the rear door is extended to the back corner (Perhaps they can try this in a Tata Nano)?
And have things fall off when the rear passenger decides to open the door? I may be carrying something which I don't want my passengers to be able to touch/see/take away.
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Old 11th January 2012, 17:06   #7
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Default re: Common 'Features' in cars that we need to 'live with'

Quote:
Originally Posted by akshay4587 View Post
What you just said may be logical but not applicable
Do you think manufacturers who spend millions in R&D are noobs?
I didn't mean that - Nano was made a reality by the Tatas NOT because other manufacturers are noobs. It's just that Tata thought what other manufacturers didn't think.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Klub Class View Post
Err...if the plain IVRM is replaced by convex mirrors, how can one judge the actual distance between his car and the car behind?
In that case I am ok with a plain mirror that curves only on two sides.
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Old 11th January 2012, 17:40   #8
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Default re: Common 'Features' in cars that we need to 'live with'

This is a strangely interesting thread. My 2p-

Quote:
Originally Posted by jinojohnt View Post
I have noticed some common 'features' in cars that we need to 'live with'. Any reasons for these, and isn't there a way out?

2. Cabin light: Why can't the cabin light be placed (centrally) on the dash board? The current position only serves to point the light on my eyes. Try switching on the cabin light while you drive, if you don't understand what I mean.

By design. What use is cabin lights on dash? To light the roof? I'm glad I got footwell lighting in my vehicle, but the catch is it only lights when doors are opened.

4. Rear Drum Brakes: Why can't we have rear disc brakes rather than drum brakes? Atleast as optional?

Again this is by design. I'm sure if the same braking levels can be achieved with drum brakes, the manufacturers are right in choosing a lower cost part. I'm of the opinion that manufacturers won't compromise on this one.

6. Headlamp leveller: Why can't we have an automatic headlight dimmer (at half the cost) made mandatory, rather than the current mandatory auto leveller function?

As someone pointed out, this would be disastrous and not something we should lose control with.

7. Antenna: Protruding antenna looks ugly. Why can't some other part serve as antenna? How about the wiper arm?

Some models already have this. Say the D (or is it the A) pillar of the Toyota Fortuner?

9. Wheels: Why can't the wheels be designed like bicycle wheels? Perhaps to save weight?

I'm not sure I understand this question. Like bicycle wheels means what? Light and having 50 spokes?

10. Hatch door: Why is a hatch door needed to access the boot, if the rear door is extended to the back corner (Perhaps they can try this in a Tata Nano)?

How would you put in a large item, say a suitcase?
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Old 11th January 2012, 18:08   #9
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Default re: Common 'Features' in cars that we need to 'live with'

My thoughts given inside this quote, in bold:
Quote:
Originally Posted by honeybee View Post
Maybe it's to support the rear defogger?

[Rear windscreen] Maybe, but not even 5% of cars have a defogger

Disc brakes would add a lot of cost (setting up as well as replacements). Also I doubt if a rear disc brake would be as good as a drum brake in holding a car stationary on a slope with the handbrake.

[Brakes] Difference in cost between drum brakes and disc brakes should not be very high. Disc brakes 'should' work as effectively as Drum brakes with respect to hand brake functionality.

As someone pointed out earlier, it's important to know the distance between your car and the vehicle following you. A convex mirror would distort it. Plus the internal mirrors are usually quite adequate in covering the rear. For adjoining lanes you could always use the wing/ORV mirrors.

[Internal Mirrors] The current mirrors are not much usefull when I join traffic from the right side of the road at 45 degrees angle.

How would they work? Depending upon its implementation it could either be a great feature or a hazard. If the headlamps dimmed automatically, how does the driver signal the oncoming traffic? What if the driver couldn't see what's ahead because the headlamps dimmed?
[Auto Headlight dimmer] I don't know excactly how it works, but I guess some countries already have implemented the 'auto dimmer' rule?

And when you replace the wiper arm, you shell out a couple of hundred extra bucks because the antenna goes with it.

[Antenna] I was thinking we could use the wiper arm as antenna without any modifications.

Perhaps to ensure they support the vehicle's weight? The rims are expected to last the lifetime of the vehicle. Considering the kind of terrain a vehicle will go over, the rims have be strong enough to carry the vehicle through all the potholes, uneven surfaces and other such. I doubt if a bicycle type design would provide enough strength. If it did you would have seen steel pressed rims looking like the alloys and alloys getting even thinner.
[Wheel Rims] ok, good point

And have things fall off when the rear passenger decides to open the door? I may be carrying something which I don't want my passengers to be able to touch/see/take away.
[Rear door extended to boot] We could also have another door (parcel tray type) inside?
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Old 11th January 2012, 18:23   #10
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Default re: Common 'Features' in cars that we need to 'live with'

Re the brakes, here's an interesting argument:
What's the difference between drum and disc brakes?
To sum: Disc brakes wouldn't work well without hydraulic pressure. A handbrake is to be used as a fallback in case your brake hydraulics failed, so it makes sense to have drums on the rear.

Regarding the cost, even if the disc brake system on rear wheels cost a few thousand rupees more than the drum brake, it would translate into a very high production cost for the manufacturer (which would typically produce a few thousand cars a month) and in turn make the car costlier, while it provides no real benefits in ordinary driving conditions.

Regarding the mirrors and the 45 degree approach, you should not be relying only on the mirrors. At this angle no mirror is going to help you. You should also be looking over your right shoulder at the oncoming lane and the traffic in it.

Even if you used the wiper arm as the antenna, it would still jack up its price. If I am able to procure a wiper arm for Rs. 200/- today and a radio antenna for Rs. 200, anytime I change my wiper arm I won't be changing my antenna, or vice versa. Imagine a situation where your antenna is damaged, as a result your radio doesn't work, and to fix this you need to change your wiper arm.

Instead of having another door inside the boot, isn't the present system better?
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Old 11th January 2012, 18:51   #11
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Default re: Common 'Features' in cars that we need to 'live with'

Quote:
Originally Posted by jinojohnt View Post
6. Headlamp leveller: Why can't we have an automatic headlight dimmer (at half the cost) made mandatory, rather than the current mandatory auto leveller function?
Headlamp leveler is meant to compensate for car "pitch", due to uneven weight in front and back rather than used for low-high beam situations, I think.
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Old 11th January 2012, 18:57   #12
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Default re: Common 'Features' in cars that we need to 'live with'

My thoughts given in bold:
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh1979 View Post
This is a strangely interesting thread. My 2p-
2. Cabin light:
By design. What use is cabin lights on dash? To light the roof?
I was thinking of a dashboard light that will illuminate the cabin just above the seat level.

4. Rear Drum Brakes:
Again this is by design. I'm sure if the same braking levels can be achieved with drum brakes, the manufacturers are right in choosing a lower cost part. I'm of the opinion that manufacturers won't compromise on this one.
I guess the cars in other countries (such as US, UK) have rear disc brakes.
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Old 11th January 2012, 19:18   #13
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Default re: Common 'Features' in cars that we need to 'live with'

Quote:
Originally Posted by jinojohnt View Post
I was thinking of a dashboard light that will illuminate the cabin just above the seat level.
Hmmm. How about the position of the lights just above the head rests of driver and front passenger? With controls on the dash.
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Old 11th January 2012, 19:27   #14
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My thoughts in bold:
Quote:
Originally Posted by honeybee View Post
To sum: Disc brakes wouldn't work well without hydraulic pressure. A handbrake is to be used as a fallback in case your brake hydraulics failed, so it makes sense to have drums on the rear.
But considering that majority of cars in US and UK have rear disc brakes, the handbrake does work pretty well with Disc Brakes?

Regarding the mirrors and the 45 degree approach, you should not be relying only on the mirrors. At this angle no mirror is going to help you. You should also be looking over your right shoulder at the oncoming lane and the traffic in it.
In that case we actually do not need the outside rearview mirrors also, as we can very well look back. I think it's a matter of convenience + safety.

Even if you used the wiper arm as the antenna, it would still jack up its price. If I am able to procure a wiper arm for Rs. 200/- today and a radio antenna for Rs. 200, anytime I change my wiper arm I won't be changing my antenna, or vice versa. Imagine a situation where your antenna is damaged, as a result your radio doesn't work, and to fix this you need to change your wiper arm.
I was thinking the wiper can be used as an antenna WITHOUT ANY modifications (not sure whether this is possible)

Instead of having another door inside the boot, isn't the present system better?
I was thinking of cost cutting the Nano way, where the hatch is not openable.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrunkenMonk View Post
Headlamp leveler is meant to compensate for car "pitch", due to uneven weight in front and back rather than used for low-high beam situations, I think.
I think there is more glare for oncoming traffic at high beam (even with auto leveller adjusted down) than at low beam.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh1979 View Post
Hmmm. How about the position of the lights just above the head rests of driver and front passenger? With controls on the dash.
I was also initially thinking about that, but the problem is that the inside rear-view mirror would reflect this lamp, and cause irritation for the driver. Thanks to you any way, for putting some thought to it.

Last edited by GTO : 13th January 2012 at 15:56. Reason: Please use the EDIT or MULTI-QUOTE buttons instead of typing one post after another!
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Old 11th January 2012, 19:57   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jinojohnt View Post
I have noticed some common 'features' in cars that we need to 'live with'. Any reasons for these, and isn't there a way out?

1. Rear Wind Screen: Outer boundary of rear wind-screen is always painted black, so I don't get full visibility through the glass. Maruti 800 and Alto doesn't have this blackened edge, but this 'feature' is common among 'new generation' hatches.

2. Cabin light: Why can't the cabin light be placed (centrally) on the dash board? The current position only serves to point the light on my eyes. Try switching on the cabin light while you drive, if you don't understand what I mean.

3. A/C vents: Why can't the a/c vents be designed like cassette a/c on the center of the roof? It would ensure uniform cooling rather than directing cold air just to the face.

4. Rear Drum Brakes: Why can't we have rear disc brakes rather than drum brakes? Atleast as optional?

5. Inside Rearview mirror: Why can't we have a long convex mirror rather than the plain mirror inside so that I'll get a wider view of the traffic behind?

6. Headlamp leveller: Why can't we have an automatic headlight dimmer (at half the cost) made mandatory, rather than the current mandatory auto leveller function?

7. Antenna: Protruding antenna looks ugly. Why can't some other part serve as antenna? How about the wiper arm?

8. Glove box: Why can't the glove box be placed between the front seats (along with the park brake lever) so that the front passenger can get more knee room?

9. Wheels: Why can't the wheels be designed like bicycle wheels? Perhaps to save weight?

10. Hatch door: Why is a hatch door needed to access the boot, if the rear door is extended to the back corner (Perhaps they can try this in a Tata Nano)?
1. I guess to protect the direct sun rays hitting the cabin and hence to keep the inside temperature under control. Alto/800 obviously don't have this to cut cost.

2. Cabin light on the dashboard ? How will it serve the purpose ? Or you meant the switch to be placed on dash?
BTW one is supposed to switch on the cabin light while driving. Atleast the driver shouldn't be doing this while driving.

3. Its more like split AC v/s window AC. Window AC cools quicker and split AC more uniformly.
With the compressor-blower placed right behind the dash,cooling via dashboard vents will be quicker. Much needed thing when you keep your car under sun. Head room can be an issue too. Roof mounted AC is available in SUVs only where headroom is good

4. Rear discs ? Any braking related issues ? Most cars do a satisfactory job with the kind of brakes (rear drum) they are provided with. Else cost would shoot up. Agreed few cars need rear discs as complusion. I would rather want ABS as option with every model.

5. ORVM (both at a time) give this idea of total traffic behind. Inside plain mirror gives the idea of approximate distance between the vehicles.
Both view and distance are important. So both serve different purpose.

6. What is automatic headlight dimmer ?

7. There is a basic principle behind signal capture and modulation. Even the DTH antenna looks odd on the top of our house
Wipers being used as antenna? And when it rains?

8. I think CR-V has a similar arrangement. Gearbox+handbrake+seatbelt lock+glovebox : Congested. Isn't it ? More so incase of hatchbacks. Access can be inconvenient as well.
Still auto-geared cars can adopt this idea

9. Cycle wheels? You mean wheels with spoke ? Cars are evolved from the one having cycle like wheels. So you can guess.

10. Larger door = More difficult to open in congested areas. Loading won't be as easy as via hatchdoor.
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